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About 6 percent of nurses today are male

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Carol Avery, Ed.D., RN, associate professor of nursing at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury and vice president of the AAMN, said that she sees positive change occurring in the younger generations of nurses .

She believes women are growing more amenable to men in nursing . "I especially notice it at Western Connecticut State University; the students with their male colleagues see each other as just nurses," Avery said.

To better understand the plight of her male colleagues and students, Karen Morin, DSN, RN, professor of nursing and professor in charge of graduate nursing programs at the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, joined the AAMN board. The membership, she said, made her realize subtle discriminations and biases that women, including nurses , physicians and patients, interject.

Nursing faculty needs to be aware of potential problems, especially when patients might feel uncomfortable about having a male nurse , Morin said.

"You're not condoning this behavior, but on the other hand you don't want to create any additional stress on the patient. Certainly, we have a responsibility to inform them [patients] that there is no difference," she said. "As a childbirth educator, it would be incumbent upon me to tell my childbirth couple, ‘Hey, there are both genders in nursing. So don't be surprised if a male nurse walks into your unit.' "

Despite arguments, the literature supports that male nurses can be just as caring as their female counterparts.

Susan Boughn, Ed.D., MSN, RN, a nursing professor at The College of New Jersey School of Nursing, in Ewing, researched why men and women choose nursing in a study published in the January/February issue of Nursing and Health Care Perspectives. During interviews with 12 male students and 16 female students, she found that the male nurses were eager to talk about their feelings about nursing.

Men do care
Boughn said that she now recognizes that male nurses have a "strong call to care. It's very strong. It's as strong, I think, as the female nursing students' need to care," she said. "I liked and was encouraged that they felt no hesitation or shame about saying right up front, ‘I expect and deserve to get a good salary and good working conditions.' I thought that was healthy. The women nursing students were much more hesitant to say that."

Both men and women were interested in power and empowerment within nursing, Boughn also found. The variable was that while female nurses were interested in power for themselves and their patients, males were interested in not only self- and patient empowerment but also empowerment of the nursing profession.

"If we had all nursing students concerned up front about their basic human labor rights and empowering not only themselves and their patients but also the profession, that's a good place for students to be. I think if we had a long history of that, we would not be where we are today with the nursing shortage," Boughn said.

The Health Resources and Service Administration's National Sample Survey of 2000 says that of the estimated 2,696,540 registered nurses in the United States, 5.9 percent are male. About 6 percent of nurses today are male. That's the highest percentage since the 1900s.

"The men who go into nursing have to realize that it's a profession dominated by women, so if they don't get along with women well, it's not a good profession for them. A lot of men in the past have not been able to deal with situations in which women are supervisors over them," Bullough said.

"The thing to focus on in men and in nursing is that men and women are both nurses. There is not much basic difference between them. Men are sometimes stronger than women, and in the past they often got stuck with turning patients more. I think all you do is treat both men and women equally."

Male nurses can overcome negative perceptions by addressing them, Miller said. By encountering gender-based reservations and winning patients' and nurses' confidence despite their initial unease, you win friends for life, he said.

"That's happened to me a few times and what a joy that is for both of us. It has been a wonderful career; it still is. The more important thing is nursing itself; I've never been bored as a nurse. I've always had mobility. I've always had lots of opportunities. I've never been burned out because I wasn't learning. I don't know that many professions have all the dimensions of nursing," he said. source

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Marcus Aurelius said…

Women still have preference by law (affirmative action) and custom, in both traditionally male and tradtionally female professions. At the same time, in practice, courts do not protect men in nursing from discrimination in education and employment. Men, in nursing,work in a female and feminist work place which makes the same a very hostile environment. Until laws are changed which end the aforementioned preferrential treatment of women in education and the workplace and give men equitable protection from discrimination in the same, men will continue to avoid nursing.
Men leave nursing at about twice the rate that women do, although they represent only about 6% of the nursing work force.


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